A city boy revisits his country roots.
I was the proverbial city mouse enjoying my luxury life in the Big Apple when I got the call that Gramma Maude Ballschmiddy had passed. I was summoned by Grampa Amos to come to the family home. The Ballschmiddy homestead was a ten-acre farm with a dilapidated two-story house in the middle of 'Nowhere', Kansas.
I had been gone for so many years, I didn't remember the country mouse experience; nor was I interested in reliving the isolation and deprivation I remembered.
I was sitting in Gramma Maude’s kitchen, eavesdropping on a conversation in the parlor between Grampa Amos and Uncle Amos Jr. and Auntie Gladys. They also lived at the farm with the elder Ballschmiddies.
"By Golly, junior, you're right,” Grampa Amos said, “Mammy would want the food spread out right here after the funeral, not over at Moogy's Diner."
" Sheesh! Finally, he listens to reason,” Auntie Gladys said to Uncle Amos Jr.
Sheesh? I hadn't heard that word in twenty years or more.
“Gladys, keep your voice down, Carl is somewhere in the house,” Grampa Amos said.
Uncle Amos Jr piped up. “Carl’s kid?"
“Yeah, Carl Jr. Got in this morning, all the way from New York City.”
“You don't say," Uncle Amos Jr said.
“I do say. Moved away to find…something. But now he's back, seeing what he can get from Mammy's estate, I reckon.”
“Well, I never,” Uncle Amos and Aunt Gladys said at the same time. "The nerve!" Then they both said, “Jinx!”
OMG! I was trapped in a cliché! I got up and tiptoed toward the back door.
Once outside, I breathed in the crisp, clean country air. I looked out over the cornfield, and then off in the distance at the field of peas. Snippets of memory were coming back: carrots and tomatoes fresh from the garden; cold clear well water from the pump. Though exciting, New York City was a cesspool…if I was being honest with myself. And food had to be trucked in and wasn’t fresh.
It might be nice to stay in the cliche for a few weeks or more (the comfort zone of my childhood) if Grampa Amos would allow it.
If he said yes, that would be the bee's knees.